Days after the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that Israel must take all measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza, Israeli forces continue their murderous bombardment from land and air. “Hague Shmague”, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister posted on X following the interim ruling.
Israel has also been ordered to get basic aid into Gaza. Since, British and other governments have followed the US in suspending payments to the UN’s aid agency for Palestinian refugees. How many more Palestinians will die as a consequence?
Now, with three US servicemen killed on a US airbase in Jordan, US President Joe Biden is promising to “hold all those responsible to account at a time and manner of our choosing”. The spread of war and instability in the region means further misery for working-class and poor people.
The sight of awful horrors carried out by the IDF exposes the rotten brutality of the capitalist system and is radicalising whole sections of workers and young people worldwide. The threat of mass movements developing in the Middle East, like those of the Arab Spring in 2011 that overthrew dictatorships, terrifies the ruling classes in the region and worldwide.
The millions-strong anti-war movement adds to the pressure on the Israeli government to stop its brutal assaults. In Britain, mass protests have already taken the scalp of hated Home Secretary Suella Braverman. They feature in the calculations of the Israeli ruling class too. “There are huge demonstrations in Western capitals…we need to apply counter-pressure”, Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
The Socialist Party is helping to build and strengthen the movement, and increase working-class pressure on all the capitalist politicians contributing to the horror.
Organise for trade union action
The strikes that have swept the country in the last 18 months gave a glimpse of the power that the organised working class has. The over 6 million-strong trade union movement in Britain is yet to put its full weight behind the anti-war movement. Trade union blocs on the national demonstrations have been modest, although inevitably tens of thousands more trade union members have been among the hundreds of thousands marching.
A ‘workplace day of action’ has been called for 7 February, encouraging lunchtime protests and meetings. Trade union leaders are coming under pressure. NEU, UCU and PCS unions have given their support nationally, PCS leaders had previously voted down proposals to do more (See ‘PCS Broad Left Network: ‘Our union must be stronger on Gaza’).
Discussions in the workplace are a good starting point towards preparing for further workers’ action. There have been a series of protests outside of arms factories in the last months aimed at stopping production, but so far, this has been limited to protests outside and not workers themselves organising stoppages.
There is a history of workers’ action against war in Britain. Examples include: London dockers refusing to send weapons for use against the Russian revolution, Rolls Royce engineers refusing to work on jet engines destined for use by Chilean military dictator Pinochet, and oil refinery workers in Ellesmere Port refusing to offload Russian oil after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
A next step towards developing future workers’ action would be to bring together shop stewards in the arms, logistics and transport industries, which could handle goods destined for the Israeli regime, to discuss and plan what can be done.
Build student walkouts
Already, school, college and university students have organised walkouts and protests against the siege on Gaza. Socialist Party members are part of Socialist Students, a nationwide organisation which is helping to organise further walkouts.
Can you organise a protest at your school or college? Get in touch!
Help us build the socialist, anti-war election stand
At every stage through the 100+ days of Gaza horror, Labour leader Keir Starmer has echoed Tory Rishi Sunak, who in turn has followed US president Joe Biden backing Israeli state terror.
Sunak has also joined Biden in bombing Yemen – putting yet more civilian lives at risk. The strikes will not achieve their stated aim of stopping Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia has been bombing them for nearly a decade with US and UK backing.
MPs in Britain didn’t get a say on the airstrikes, but Starmer was in on it and gave his approval. No wonder hatred of both him and Sunak is so widespread on the Gaza protests. People are asking: Who can I vote for at the general election?
The Socialist Party is campaigning for a workers’ list of candidates to stand, backed by the trade unions, which could include people such as Jeremy Corbyn, Dianne Abbot and Emma Dent Coad, as well as anti-war and community campaigners. We are starting preparations now for our stand as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the general election when it comes, and in the local elections in May. And we are calling on other anti-war campaigners to stand with us (visit tusc.org.uk for the core policy platform).